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270             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
Osiris victorious is holy and righteous. He hath not sinned, neither hath he done evil against us. It shall not be allowed to the devourer to prevail over him. Entrance into the presence of the god Osiris shall be granted unto him, together with an eternal home in the Fields of Peace/'
In the third corridor the king offered a sacrificial statuette of the goddess of Truth to Ptah. Next followed a picture of his own Osirified, stretched-out mummy, and above it the rising sun, out of the radiant disk of which emerged the scarab-beetle —symbol of newly created life and token of sure resurrection of the soul.
I passed through two chambers and descended into the chief burial vault, now plundered of its treasures and bereft of its Pharaoh and his coffins. Only a painted spot indicates the place where his sarcophagus rested. Other emblems of immortality were painted on a wall of this chamber, such as the infant Horns seated in the presence of the winged sun. The vaulted ceiling carried a representation of the starred evening sky, and of the zodiacal constellations that make up the glorious panoply of the heavens.
I returned from these crowded underworlds and paradisaical overworlds to the entrance, scene after scene flicKering past me in the lamplight like an unravelling cinema film. Once again the bright glare burst upon me suddenly.
These opened tombs provide a handy illustration of the foolishness of disregarding as baseless all ancient traditions. Diodorus, writing about 55 B.C., mentioned that the records of the Egyptian priests contained references to the fact that forty-seven Pharaohs were buried at Thebes. Modern Egyptologists did not disregard Diodorus's statement, but acted upon it in full faith, and this enabled them to make the discoveries in the Valley of the Kings, which in later years led to the grand climax of the finding of Tutankhamen's tomb of treasures,
But now I wanted to leave the Pharaohs who sought a spurious immortality in death through the means of embalming preparations and linen wrappings I It was late afternoon, the air was heavy with midsummer heat, my palate was parched, and I crossed the stony track in quest of Youssef and his treasured flask of life-sustaining tea. He had gone off somewhere in search of a scrap of shade. Look where I would, he was undiscoverable. Youssef had melted in the heat. But, finally, what my eyes had failed to detect, my ears were able to